The (kinda) PhD Playlist – Freddie M.

Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at the Norwich Research Park and get them to share three songs in a desert island disc-style game: one song that captures their project (expect some very tenuous links), one song that captures their life as a PhD student and a final motivational song because – let’s face it – we all need it.

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 11.44.08

Freddie is an undergraduate from Manchester Metropolitan University (a metropolitan?! In THIS lab?!), he came to the JIC to work as an intern for a year to gain some experience and level up. He has tried to do as much as physically possible, joining in with almost every event and documenting it all in his pile of notebooks. He enjoys research, mass spectroscopy and pretending he knows what he’s doing.


The Project Song – Yield by Formidable vegetable sound system 

“Before I started I was just doing the normal, boring, run of the mill biology – but then I was introduced to the wonderful world of plants… and the frustrating world of science. Some things worked, and some things most things made no sense, but I had a great time doing it all. The aptly named group ‘Formidable vegetable sound system’ has a very funky song all about not getting too stressed but getting on with life, specifically with vegetables – I hope that it will resonate with a few of you reading this now. My project was a fantastic chance to try out anything and everything I could but sometimes I just couldn’t obtain a yield.”

The PhD Life Song – Strong Coffee by The Cat Empire

“Even though I’m not a PhD student I think I can say I definitely saw behind the scenes, and if there is something I think a fair number of you have in common, is that you run on a passion to find answers, fear of not hitting your targets, but really… lots and lots of strong coffee.”

The Motivational Song – Down the Road by C2C

“Motivation… well usually I need only a poster of a cat hanging off a tree, or maybe an inspirational boxing quote to get me through the day. Sometimes though, this isn’t enough! I think something that shocked me is that you can end up listening to entire albums multiple times when you’re sitting there in a flow cupboard, stacks of plates looming next to you whispering in your ear “you can’t leave until I’m finished”. When its days like those, just suck it up, pull a fresh pair of gloves over my sticky, sweaty fingers and then down the road I go.

I owe a fair bit to those I admit who helped me through, appreciate it, I do – 10/10 would intern again*.

Ps. As a side note, my project was on soil, so a different project song choice would have to be ‘I like dirt’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

*Did you notice the rhyme? I have too much time.”

The PhD playlist is the brainchild of Millie, whose obsession with making playlists is almost as great as her obsession with science. Follow her on twitter: @milliestanton and drop her an email if you’re interested in being featured!

Advertisements

The PhD Playlist – Thom B.

Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at the Norwich Research Park and get them to share three songs in a desert island disc-style game: one song that captures their project (expect some very tenuous links), one song that captures their life as a PhD student and a final motivational song because – let’s face it – we all need it.

Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 16.58.59

Thom is a 3rd year PhD student in Molecular Microbiology at the John Innes Centre. He is researching the specialised metabolism of bacteria in the hopes of understanding how drug-like compounds are synthesised. He is also interested in the evolution and ecology of these pathways. Originally from Preston, Thom has also worked in London at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Government Office for Science. When not in the lab, he is most likely in the pub or round the table playing board games.

Twitter: @BoothThom


The Project Song – Killer Queen by Queen

Bacteria make all kinds of compounds to utilise as chemical weapons and there is no doubt that Streptomyces is the ‘Killer Queen.’ The diversity of Actinobacterial specialised metabolites is impressive – one might say it’s guaranteed to blow your mind… Is that tenuous enough?!”

The PhD Life Song – Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant

Let’s face it, PhD students work hard. We’ve all been in the lab at ridiculous-o’clock taking a time course, trying to finish a particularly complex protocol or scrambling to finish a report/presentation before the deadline. I feel this song really sums up that feeling of resignation, while making it seem pretty rock and roll at the same time. Also, the final verse is a nice reminder that even people who look like they’ve got it all together are still struggling with the same pressures as everyone else.”

The Motivational Song – Bad Motherf*cker by Biting Elbows

There are loads of songs I could have picked for this category. Sometimes you need a song that will show you the bright side of life. Sometimes you need a song that will improve your focus and get you in the zone. Occasionally though, you just need reminding that you’re a bad motherf*cker!”


The PhD playlist is the brainchild of Millie, whose obsession with making playlists is almost as great as her obsession with science. Follow her on twitter: @milliestanton and drop her an email if you’re interested in being featured!

The PhD Playlist – Billy T-B.

Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at the Norwich Research Park and get them to share three songs in a desert island disc-style game: one song that captures their project (expect some very tenuous links), one song that captures their life as a PhD student and a final motivational song because – let’s face it – we all need it. Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 11.43.57

Billy is a first-year PhD student in Lars Østergaard’s lab. He is a local boy, from rural Norfolk. His first visit to the JIC was when he was 15 as part of a school visit. Billy remembers hearing of students spending 4 years studying the same small weed and being dumbfounded. Despite trying to escape Norfolk (and England) by moving up to St. Andrews for his undergraduate, Norfolk has drawn him back to its sandy embrace. Needless to say, Billy’s opinion of the small weed that people spend so much time studying has changed. His project is on the radial to bilateral symmetry change during gynoecium development; specifically how the cell cycle is controlled during this process. When not in the lab he spends his time thinking about birds (the flying variety), beer, his wife and football (not in that order).


The Project Song – The Circle of Life by Elton John 

“Studying the cell cycle makes this song an obvious choice. The cell cycle underpins development and disruptions can be fatal. Since starting my PhD the complexity of gynoecium development has fascinated me. The lyrics ‘There’s far too much to take in here, more to find than can ever be found’ is poignant, and I like to think that Elton John was thinking of Arabidopsis genetics when writing these lyrics.”

The PhD Life Song – Three Little Birds by Bob Marley & The Wailers

“One of my hobbies is bird-watching, and I wish that three (different species of) little birds would come to my doorstep every morning. I picked this song because everything that can possibly go wrong whilst doing a PhD generally does. At some point, you have to shrug your shoulders and blast this song out whilst in the lab. In my mind’s eye, I see myself walking in slow motion along a chaotic street with the buildings exploding around me and this song playing over the top.”

The Motivational Song – Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Monty Python

“When you are a bit down in the dumps, a ‘Cheer up, Brian’ is always sufficient to lift your spirits. If you are struggling with anything just remember that it isn’t as difficult as doing the can-can on a crucifix. Doing a PhD can be tough, so blast this out when you are feeling insufficient. Count your blessings, change your perspective and I expect to hear whistling filling the labs of JIC over the next week.”

 


The PhD playlist is the brainchild of Millie, whose obsession with making playlists is almost as great as her obsession with science. Follow her on twitter: @milliestanton and drop her an email if you’re interested in being featured!

The PhD Playlist – Joanna

Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at the Norwich Research Park and get them to share three songs in a desert island disc-style game: one song that captures their project (expect some very tenuous links), one song that captures their life as a PhD student and a final motivational song because – let’s face it – we all need it. 

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 11.36.05Joanna is a 1st year Rotation PhD student from Edmonton, AB in Canada, working in Jonathan Jones’ lab at The Sainsbury Laboratory. Her project involves suppressor screens to look for novel genetic components of downstream immune signaling in plants. When she’s not obsessing over phytopathology she’s playing bluegrass guitar and mandolin, or she’s at the gym.

Twitter: @jofeehan


The Project Song – Shimmy Shimmy Ya by Ol’ Dirty Bastard

“Here I am at the beginning of my PhD, having just a week or two ago decided on a final lab and project after rotating. Yeah, “oh, baby I like [my data] raw”, is on the nose as any data I have is pretty crude, but really, this song is all about getting hyped on myself for the next three years. Thanks, ODB.”

The PhD Life Song – One More Dollar by Gillian Welch

“This song resonates with my current situation; moving far away, from my beautiful home in Alberta, to pursue an adventure (hard labor) with plants (apple picking). And the fear of ending up destitute and having to make money through gambling (in the stock market) seems like a real possibility.”

The Motivational Song – Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

“A classic. Whenever I’m feeling like my PhD needs to be put in its place, I’ll just put this song on and montage myself running PCRs and westerns and lunging down the hallways of TSL. I have definitely not done that yet.”


The PhD playlist is the brainchild of Millie, whose obsession with making playlists is almost as great as her obsession with science. Follow her on twitter: @milliestanton and drop her an email if you’re interested in being featured!

The PhD Playlist – John

Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at JIC and get them to share three songs in a desert island disc-style game: one song that captures their project (expect some very tenuous links), one song that captures their life as a PhD student and a final motivational song because – let’s face it – we all need it. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 13.15.27

John in a 1st Year PhD student working in Paul Nicholson’s lab. He’s looking at a number of approaches to control Fusarium Head Blight in wheat. More specifically, he’s working on identifying important plant hormone signalling pathways including hormone manipulation strategies by Fusarium, and combining these with fungicide application. John is half Greek and Spanish but lived in Oxford for most of his life. He loves a good game of squash every now and then.


The Project Song – Invaders Must Die by The Prodigy

“Despite the different nature of this song to my other choices, I felt its title best describes the theme of my project. In order to stop the ever-growing horde of invading pathogens, a combination of control strategies need to be used. With my project, limiting infection and development of Fusarium when wheat is at is most susceptible is one key way to control the invasion.”

The PhD Life Song – Precious Time by The Maccabees

“Unfortunately, time is a constraint to all PhD projects. Time is always on my mind from designing experiments to seeing if its lunch yet. Despite having four years to complete my PhD, I feel like its relatively short and every second of it is precious. It is also amazing that for every deadline, we somehow manage to get things done on time!”

The Motivational Song – Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters

“Who doesn’t like a bit of Foo Fighters in their life! This song can be played at loads of occasions and always manages to improve the mood (especially if you watch the Rockin1000 video!).”


The PhD playlist is the brainchild of Millie, whose obsession with making playlists is almost as great as her obsession with science. Follow her on twitter: @milliestanton and drop her an email if you’re interested in being featured!

The PhD Playlist – Aisling


Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at JIC and get them to share three songs in a desert island disc-style game: one song that captures their project (expect some very tenuous links), one song that captures their life as a PhD student and a final motivational
song because – let’s face it – we all need it. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 11.27.13Aisling is a 3rd year Rotation PhD student working in Myriam Charpentier’s lab. Her project looks at the evolution of symbiosis in land plants and involves growing a lot of liverworts and molecular phylogenetics. Originally from Dublin she likes fluffy animals and making cakes

Twitter: @liverwortlife


The Project Song – Closer by Tegan and Sara

My research looks at arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis, where fungi in the soil supply plants with mineral nutrients in exchange for fixed carbon (mostly delicious fats). This relationship between plants and fungi is really very close indeed because the fungus has to grow into the cells in the middle of a plant to exchange nutrients. Plants don’t always want to trade away their lovely fixed carbon though – they might be getting enough minerals by themselves – but the fungus always wants to “get a little bit closer” with the plant because it isn’t able to get food any other way.

 This song also reminds me of symbiosis because it’s about the moment just before two people touch. In AM symbiosis, the plant and fungus exchange signals and start changing gene expression before they physically come into contact. It’s a pretty important time for both of them!”

The PhD Life Song – Boy Problems by Carly Rae Jepsen

“Really, this would better describe my PhD life if the title was PCR Problems, not Boy Problems. That said, this is a really upbeat, sassy song  – everyone has boy (PCR) problems at some point but, after you whinge about it to your friend, you realise that your boy (PCR) problems aren’t really so bad. You break up with your boyfriend (order some new PCR primers), stop lurking in your bedroom and move on. Eventually you and your female friends (fellow PhD students, of all genders) are happily dancing together, surrounded by glitter. Or you go for a drink after work on Friday. Anything is possible.”

The Motivational Song – My Shot from the Hamilton soundtrack

“Look, if Alexander Hamilton can rise from a penniless, orphaned immigrant to the first secretary of the treasury of the United States of America, I can probably power through an afternoon of hairy root transformations, right? And hey, Alex might still be a work in progress, he may not have his degree yet but he’s not going to stop working and writing and picking fights with the other founding fathers until he makes it. So I’m going to carry on writing my scientific reports, even though I’m actually a bit tired and frustrated with my referencing software. (Hamilton didn’t even have referencing software.)”


The PhD playlist is the brainchild of Millie, whose obsession with making playlists is almost as great as her obsession with science. Follow her on twitter: @milliestanton and drop her an email if you’re interested in being featured!

The PhD Playlist – Marie

Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at JIC and get them to share three songs in a desert island disc-style game: one song that captures their project (expect some very tenuous links), one song that captures their life as a PhD student and a final motivational song because – let’s face it – we all need it. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 14.22.26

Marie is a fourth i.e. final year PhD student working with Lars Østergaard in Crop Genetics. Her project started by looking at pod length diversity in Brassica napus (which includes oilseed rape) and has since led her down a long meandering path to look at embryo development and the cell cycle. She has grown up in Belgium but sadly only started liking beer after she moved away so is now working on tasting her way through the great Belgian beers!

Twitter: @MaBruser


The Project Song – Highs and Lows by Emeli Sandé

“I tried to find a song related to oilseed rape, embryos and the cell cycle but perhaps unsurprisingly, I couldn’t find any that touched on this topic (please get in touch if you have one up your sleeve!). Instead, I chose Highs and Lows because that definitely describes what I’ve gone through! A PhD seems to be a constant rollercoaster – the project changes and leads you down new roads, experiments fail, results don’t show what you expect… but it also makes you super excited when something does work, when you have a phenotype, when genes are expressed where you hoped… and overall there are definitely more highs than lows!”

The PhD Life Song – Fighter by Christina Aguilera

“It’s an old one but that doesn’t stop me from getting a buzz from it every time I listen to it! This song makes me determined to succeed, to re-run that PCR that hasn’t worked 6 times, to go and sample what feels like a million plants for DNA extraction and to get the perfect image to show what I want it to. And my PhD has definitely made me stronger, wiser and smarter!”

The Motivational Song – Bare Necessities from the Jungle Book

“Who doesn’t like this song?! This actually became my motivational song when I started my PhD as someone in the lab was in her final year and being stressed and so we began pinging this song to each other on a bad day. It still gets me every time and it’s a song I don’t mind having stuck in my head all day long. So just “forget about your worries and your strife”!”

 


The PhD playlist is the brainchild of Millie, whose obsession with making playlists is almost as great as her obsession with science. Follow her on twitter: @milliestanton and drop her an email if you’re interested in being featured!